How Will COVID-19 Impact IT Engineers in the Future?

The spread of coronavirus infection has led several businesses into a temporary halt, and some completely shut down. The work environment has also changed as the government encourages companies to make their employees work remotely.

Moreover, businesses in Japan are moving their efforts to online marketing. Industries greatly affected by the pandemic are also creating new business strategies as the country plans to open its doors again for tourists to help kick-start the economy. As such, the number of IT-related projects continues to soar and Japan still needs more IT engineers to cope with the demand for workforce in the industry.

Impact of Corona in the IT Industry

According to IDC Japan, the ICT market in the country is forecast to decrease by 4.5%. This is due to the postponement of the 2020 Olympics, the sluggish service industry, and the supply-chain disruption. Despite the forecast, IDC believes that it will have less impact in the IT industry due to digital transformation and system updates for businesses which opens up a new market for the IT industry.

Companies are expected to lose some revenue due to the pandemic but system support and maintenance are indispensable. They are necessary to stabilize business operations or help them transfer to digital marketing as consumer behaviors are seen to rise during the pandemic.

Unlike other businesses, IT companies can work remotely which is shaping up to be the new normal. In-house services are also needed recently for digital transformation in businesses.

Remote Work

Companies are recommending a work from home or remote work setup to keep employees safe and businesses afloat. Remote working is not only limited to working at home but it also includes working in satellite offices.

Remote work can reduce long travel hours and eliminate the stress from commuting. Transportation costs are also reduced for companies. This type of setting will also improve the work-life balance of IT engineers. However, remote work can also cause delays in confirmations and consultations which can easily be done face-to-face in an office-based setting.

Recruitment

The job market in Japan has seen a downward trend but the hiring of IT engineers has not decreased under these circumstances. IT companies in the country are still looking for new candidates and have adopted online applications into the interview and screening process.

IT companies are motivated to continue hiring and training engineers in response to the implementation of system improvements for businesses to grow. Companies are expected to request system replacements and maintenance in 2020 which can potentially continue in the next year.

IT Industries and Job Titles Needed in Japan

The IT job market continues to look for IT engineers to fill in available job titles for remote and in-house work during these circumstances. Here are a few IT industries and job titles IT companies are looking for:

  • Internet industry

Companies in this industry deal with various web services and developments on the internet such as server management, site management, and internet advertisement. Most IT engineers working in this industry can work anywhere as long as there’s an internet connection. Web designers and programmers fall under this industry.

  • Telecommunications industry

They deal with maintenance and improvements in mobile phones, landlines, internet, and communication lines. Sales engineers and network engineers work for the telecommunications industry. They also do product planning and development.

  • Software industry

Companies under the software industry develop a wide range of operating systems of basic software and applications. The industry needs systems engineers, application engineers, and programmers.

  • Hardware industry

It is an industry that plans, designs, and develops hardware such as smartphones and PC peripherals. They also handle IoT which is currently included in home appliances. Sales engineers, systems engineers, and hardware engineers fall under this industry.

Engineering Work Outlook

IT Engineers in Japan are requested to work on various system-related services, contractual development projects, and in-house products and services. Here’s the outlook for the three working styles of IT engineers in Japan.

System Engineering Service (SES)

Engineers working in this field develop and maintain information systems of companies. An engineer is assigned to a company and stays resident there to get used to the system design of the company. During this period, engineers can work remotely and access the system environment with VPN but communication is less and it may be difficult to provide the service they need. Moving forward, SES contracts may change and will require engineers to learn new skills. 

Contract Development Projects

IT companies are responsible for the system development of companies. Multiple engineers are assigned and work together as project members along with the development team in the company office. Engineers working in this field can work remotely, but efficiency is expected to become lower due to work schedules risking the delivery time of the development system. In the future, there is a need for change in the working style of engineers involved in contract development projects.

In-house Services

Engineers belonging to the in-house services develop and maintain operations to improve company products. Development and maintenance are scheduled and contracts are based on the services needed. As engineers need to work remotely, requesting reviews and communication with leaders can be difficult and engineers need to learn skills to work around this.

Skills Needed from IT Engineers in the Future

The coronavirus has eliminated close contact work. As more IT engineers seek jobs in the industry, remote work is expected to continue even when the pandemic is over. Employers are also looking for qualities that will best fit IT talents while doing remote work. Here are two important skills that IT engineers need in the future.

Great Time Management

Compared to working in the office, there is less interruption when working remotely. IT engineers should utilize this opportunity to practice managing their tasks and setting clear goals such as finishing a part of a task within a day or scheduling a review of ongoing work once a week.

Employers will be looking for candidates and trainees that are reliable and can balance their work and life while working remotely.

Online Communication

Unlike talking with your teammates in a conference room or meeting room, online meetings right now are moving in a systematic approach. Always listen to the host and write down everything you want to ask and make them simpler so when your turn comes, you can ask questions precisely and promptly to avoid delays in the meeting. For emails and other business communication platforms, explain all the things you need to convey in easy sentences or in precise sentences. Fillers are not needed in business communication as it will only cause problems. This will also give your employer your professionalism and respect for time. 

Conclusion

The IT job market is continuously looking for IT talents to fill the demand of the workforce in the country. The work-life balance is expected to improve among IT engineers now that companies are transitioning to remote work. With the current technology and problems related to remote work, IT engineers also need to improve their skills moving forward.

 

Sources:

https://xtech.nikkei.com/atcl/nxt/column/18/00001/04125/?P=2

https://www.java-career.com/column/industry-knowledge/influence-of-coronavirus-to-it-industory/

https://arvo.showcase-tv.com/140081/

https://www.java-career.com/column/industry-knowledge/engineer-and-telework/

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